How good is Ladue’s boys basketball team going to be this winter? “Ask me in 32 minutes, and I’ll tell you,” said Chad Anderson, Rams skipper, right before the season’s tipoff game.
Thirty-two minutes later after a good defensive effort with some strong rebounding, Anderson had some inkling.
His Rams went on the road and defeated John Burroughs last night, 44-30 to open the 2011-12 season. The Rams won this same game one year ago in a season where they finished 17-9. But this is just one test, perhaps one of more than 25 games ending sometime in March.
Addressing his team, he told them “I am pleased with the effort and I think you (the team) gave a good defensive effort. Going on, “You have given us four good weeks of effort and we’ve had a lot of conditioning and we will continue to get better,” said Anderson.
Todd Basler, assistant coach had the same take on the outcome. “All I can ask the team is to go out and play hard and when you do that, more times than not, good things happen.”
Burroughs opened the game playing pretty much like a football team, and rightfully so. Just 48 hours earlier, the Bombers stepped off the Edward Jones turf at the Show-Me Bowl. Six basketball players were in football uniforms Saturday night.
The Bombers didn’t score the first point of the season until 4:01 of the first quarter, stopping a seven-point start for the visiting Rams.
At the end of the quarter, the Rams led 14-5 and built the lead to 25-13 by halftime.
At the 4:59 mark of the third quarter sophomore Austin DaGue splashed a soft 15-footer, stretching the lead to 33-17.
Xavier Bledsoe stole the ball and delivered a slam dunk at the end of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 36-24 as close as it would get.
“It seemed to me that (Zeke) Elliott was still wearing those shoulder pads,” said senior Hamm Hooper who missed last year’s opener with Burroughs with a broken hand. “I’m just glad we held them to 30 points,” said Hooper.
Steve Wilcutt, who’s been through countless battles for Burroughs was not in search of excuses. “We just got the football players back. I called them in Sunday just to shoot the ball a little. But, that’s no excuse,” said Wilcutt.
“Our kids played hard but when you don’t rebound and miss free throws, its hard to win,” he reasoned.
Maybe Burroughs out to schedule Ladue the first of January rather than the end of November. “I might do that,” he said.
Ryan Daniels led Ladue with 9 first half points, but finished with just 10 for the game. Johnston, newcomer at 5-foot6, 120 pounds led the point and also had 10 points. Football receiver Foye Oluokun and Ezekiel Elliott each had 8 points for Burroughs.